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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/330

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

mantled by Henry VIII. The wind was northerly, and biting; a slight rain fell, which was instantly frozen into ice. Some gentlemen present were evidently fathers of families, recognized as such by their putting up their umbrellas.

On the side of Phelem-ghe-Madone was Colonel Moncreif as umpire; and Kilter, as second, to support him on his knee. On the side of Helmsgail, the Honourable Pughe Beaumaris was umpire; with Lord Desertum, from Kilcarry, as bottle-holder, to support him on his knee.

The two combatants stood for a few seconds motionless in the ring, while the watches were being compared; they then approached each other and shook hands.

"I should prefer going home," remarked Phelem-ghe-Madone to Helmsgail.

"The gentlemen must not be disappointed, on any account," Helmsgail answered handsomely.

Naked as they were, they felt the cold. Phelem-ghe-Madone shook. His teeth chattered.

Doctor Eleanor Sharpe, nephew of the Archbishop of York, cried out to them: "Set to, boys! it will warm you."

These friendly words thawed them. They set to. But neither of the two men had his blood up; there were three ineffectual rounds.

The Rev. Doctor Gumdraith, one of the forty Fellows of All Souls' College, cried, "Spirit them up with gin!"

But the two umpires and the two seconds adhered to the rules, although it was exceedingly cold.

First blood was claimed. The combatants were again set face to face. They looked at each other, approached, stretched their arms, touched each other's fists, and then drew back. All at once Helmsgail, the little man,